The 5: Best SXSW 2013 Artists


This Week On the 5:  The Five Best Artists To Watch This Year at SXSW

SXSW has been releasing tracks from the acts playing during the festival since 2005. This year, 7.39 gigs of music were released through a torrent DRM free— that’s 1,210 tracks from as many different acts. We’ve listened to every single one, good or bad and sifted them down to our five favorites.  Here are our picks for  the five best out of the 1,210 songs released spanning every genre .   This couldn’t have been done without Ben Stolt compiling all this music into one place for us – http://www.sxswtorrent.com/2013 – big ups to Ben, forever.  All the music posted below was courtesy of Ben and sxswtorrent and the artists.

Emily Bell Grace London terraplane sun the harpoonis and the axe murderer Allah-las

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1.  Emily Bell, Back to the Way I Was.

A singer/songwriter hailing from Austin, Texas, Emily Bell sounds like an old soul but her music is infused with youth. She bounced around from Austin to Houston to the west coast, picking up her songwriting partner and producer John Evans. She’s combining southern rock blues and 60’s rock and roll into a sound that’s much needed. Her first album is set to come out in May and she’s currently playing showcases at SXSW and other venues in Texas.

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2.  Allah Las – Busman’s Holiday.

In Allah-Las’s own words, they’re trying to sound like Old, Weird Los Angeles – and they’re succeeding. Psychadelic surf rock, strange California pop, and some Brian Jonestown Massacre thrown in for good measure is what Allah-Las is bringing. They hail from Los Angeles and they sound it. You can grab their self titled LP off of iTunes.

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3.  The Harpoonist and The Axe Murderer – Roll with the Punches.  

Yes, it’s a weird name but the singer has hints of a male Macy Gray going on and it brings the blues alive in 2013. Shawn Hall and Matthew Rogers produce an organic and full sound for a band comprising of only two people and they pride themselves on not using any programming or looping. This is pure blues brought to America by two Canadians.

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4.  Terraplane Sun – Ya Never Know.

Another act out of California, Terraplane Sun hails from Venice. They’re self described as a indie/folk act, but “Ya Never Know” invokes something reminiscent of a highly produced Bill Withers sound, except these guys are white. They’ve been getting high praise from the California music journalists for their live shows and oddly enough their use of real instruments and no auto-tune.

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5. Grace London – Rocketship Girl.

Honestly, this was the biggest surprise in a playlist filled with 1,210 songs. This singer/songwriter is an astounding 13 years old at the time of this writing. These don’t seem to be arrangements or lyrics a 13 year old can pull off but she does. She’s currently living in Santa Monica. California. On her songwriting, she says “When I write songs, words spill out that really don’t make sense at all,” she says, “but when I look at it afterwards, it means something to me and I understand what I was saying when I wrote it!”  Additionally, she does a lot of charity work, so this is one busy  girl.

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118 comments
bmazing
bmazing

I couldnt believe when they said Allah Las. Ive been listening to them for a couple months and really like their sound

Kay1399
Kay1399

Go Grace London. Good job.

TheMeebs
TheMeebs

Awesome list Pepper.  Love that Emily Bell song. Probably my favorite.  The rest are a little too indie rock sounding for me.

Yuuuck
Yuuuck

I'm listening AGAIN! 

DrunkCentard
DrunkCentard

Great picks Pepper.. I would love to see a top 30 instead of 5 though.. I just don't have the time to go through 1200 songs

jerkaruso
jerkaruso

I spent 5 days looking for Rob Cross and came up empty handed. 

cbearnm
cbearnm

Great list Peppy. I have spent hours on just part II, really appreciate the effort. Part I will take me forever.

Some great music there.

A song that jumped out at me as well was K'LA - 'Til Death.

Chillwinston
Chillwinston

Harpoonist....sounds like the Black Keys and Wolf Parade had a baby.

 

roweknows
roweknows

that  Terraplane Sun record was very very strong ...im looking  into thier records ... grace london was shocking especially the last turn of that song ... i cant imagine sitting thru 200 songs to find these let alone over 1000.. but overall i found some new acts to listen to

Tacoshack27
Tacoshack27

Great work Pepper.  You did an amazing job with the top 5.  5 great and diverse bands.  That takes dedication to listen to all 1210 bands.

knowgusto
knowgusto

Big Ups Pepper....

 

Good Job. Loving Allah Las – Busman’s Holiday.

pr0gr4m
pr0gr4m

Not saying that I don't like the tunes but they seem to be very Hipster picks.

Concho Pete
Concho Pete

I downloaded the entire randomly alphabetized list.

JinPA
JinPA

Emily Bell, music is fantastic (though the video a bit weird...) Great job Pepper Hicks!

Tippin8ez
Tippin8ez

No allen stone pep? U couldn't have listened to all.

Boswelliott
Boswelliott

Amazing Job, Pepper! Emily Bell is fantastic....

 

giafromlongisland
giafromlongisland

Amazing job Pepper!!  You should see Baby Bennington tapping his furry paw. He is soooooooooo rock n roll!

tomato_v
tomato_v

Good job Pepper! Apparently centaurs not only have hooved feet but also golden ears.

mrkerij
mrkerij

as someone who's been really heavy into electronic music for years now, some of these picks really make me want to get my alt rock game back up. excellent music!

TemporalGrid
TemporalGrid

You just can't pay a mythical beast a compliment

Obvious Guy
Obvious Guy

No way drunky listened to all 1210 songs... A 3 min/ track would mean 60.5 hours of music. Lying Centaur!

ecupirate
ecupirate

7 National Army Rocks pepper i love these White Stripes covers!

kevgret
kevgret

Fix the link for grace london's website.. its wrong

kevgret
kevgret

Terrplane sun's song "Ya never know" aired on the 2/19 finale of suits

Docintoxicated
Docintoxicated

It would've taken roughly 60.5 hours to listen to all these songs. Even if you only listened to 1 minute of each song it would have taken over 20 hours to get through this list.

Docintoxicated
Docintoxicated

I'm don't think he's lying... Just that he's doing bath salts to stay up for days.

dr freedom sauce
dr freedom sauce

 @Docintoxicated hate to agree... i worked it out to at least 15 hrs a day needed to do them all (based on the timeline of when he started)